HOT TOYS: Fidget Spinners available at all 7-Eleven gas stations

Published: Friday, May 19, 2017 @ 12:15 PM

Flying off the shelves, 7-Eleven stores sell Fidget Spinners, the popular new toy designed to calm nerves, ease anxiety and provide hours of entertainment. (PRNewsfoto/7-Eleven, Inc.)
Flying off the shelves, 7-Eleven stores sell Fidget Spinners, the popular new toy designed to calm nerves, ease anxiety and provide hours of entertainment. (PRNewsfoto/7-Eleven, Inc.)

The newest toy craze, Fidget Sprinners, are available at 7-Eleven stores nationwide.

The popular new toy is designed to calm nerves, ease anxiety and provide hours of entertainment — and they’re hard to find these days. Some schools across the country have been them due to the distraction in the classroom.

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“The Fidget Spinner is a very hot item right now and we know customers want it,” said Tony Stapleton, senior product director at 7-Eleven. “7-Eleven continues to innovate to give its customers what they want, when and where they want it.”

Customers can now visit their local 7-Elevens tore to find the toy in multiple colors, glow in the dark, tie die or metallic. The toy is priced at $7.99. The gas station chain has 61,000 stores.

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In the future, it’ll be Ford trucks — and only Ford trucks

Published: Thursday, April 26, 2018 @ 2:11 PM

Fords Sharonville Transmission plant is hiring 100 new employees. At more than 1,600 employees, it is the city’s largest employer. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Fords Sharonville Transmission plant is hiring 100 new employees. At more than 1,600 employees, it is the city’s largest employer. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Ford Motor Co. is basically a truck company — or it soon will be.

In its first quarter 2018 earnings announcement Wednesday, Ford said that by the year 2020, almost “90 percent of the Ford portfolio in North America will be trucks, utilities and commercial vehicles.”

“Given declining consumer demand and product profitability, the company will not invest in next generations of traditional Ford sedans for North America,” the automaker said. “Over the next few years, the Ford car portfolio in North America will transition to two vehicles — the best-selling Mustang and the all-new Focus Active crossover coming out next year.”

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Ford also said it is exploring “new ‘white space’ vehicle” designs that combine car and utility characteristics such as “higher ride height, space and versatility.”

  

“We are committed to taking the appropriate actions to drive profitable growth and maximize the returns of our business over the long term,” said Jim Hackett, Ford president and chief executive.

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Ford has a transmission plant in Sharonville, a plant that has about 1,660 workers.

The plant, which has said it is hiring, makes the transmission for the F-Series Super Duty truck and gear sets for additional models, as well as production for a new transmission family and additional gear sets for other vehicles.

The plant is less that three miles south of Butler County’s border with Hamilton County.

A Ford spokeswoman Thursday said she could not offer any details on how specific plants -- other than our assembly plants -- will be affected by the change. 

Michelle Krebs, an executive analyst with Autotrader, said Daimler Chrysler made a similar move at least two years ago -- “and has been very successful doing so.”

Ford isn’t the first and won’t be the last domestic automaker to concentrate on trucks and SUVs, she said.

“I think General Motors will probably be pruning its line in a  while,” Krebs said. 

This kind of move feels permanent, she said. “I think it’s pretty much a structural change.” 

Today’s SUVs get far better fuel economy then they did in earlier iterations, and Ford is adding hybrid options to its volume models, even the F-150, Krebs said. 

Those moves may shield the automakers somewhat if gas prices continue to rise. 

Fuyao Glass America, which has more than 2,000 employees in Moraine, supplies auto glass sets for the Ford F-150 truck. Jeff Liu, Fuyao Glass America president, said Thursday he did not expect Ford’s announcement to harm or cut production at the company’s West Stroop Road plant.

Ford had a good first quarter, saying its revenue was up seven percent year over year. Net income of $1.7 billion represents a nine percent increase year over year, “more than explained by a lower tax rate,” Ford said.

Earnings before taxes and interest was put at $2.2 billion, down from a year ago, but Ford blamed commodity cost increases and adverse exchange rates for that.

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Breweries, food, entertainment making up for Elder-Beerman loss at local malls

Published: Thursday, April 26, 2018 @ 12:47 PM

Elder-Beerman warns of layoffs at Dayton Mall store

After an unsuccessful bid to partner with another mall owner to buy Elder-Beerman, Washington Prime posted mostly positive first quarter earnings.

Net income for the first quarter of 2018 was $14 million, or $0.07 per diluted share, compared to $9.3 million, or $0.05 per diluted share, a year ago. The year-over-year increase in net income was primarily attributable to an increase of $8.2 million in net gains related to the sale of restaurant outparcels to an affiliate of Four Corners Property Trust.

Washington Prime owns both the Mall at Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek and the Dayton Mall.

Washington Prime addressed how it plans to combat the after effects of the liquidation of all Elder-Beerman and Bon-Ton Inc. stores, which make up a hefty portion of WP-owned anchor stores. The company feels “pretty good about addressing these stores in a comprehensive fashion sooner rather than later,” said CEO and director Lou Conforti.

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“Since 2015, WPG has completed, commenced or approved 15 department store repositionings ranging between $5 million and $20 million. Most importantly, such projects reflect an average sales volume increase of between two and three times. The liquidation of Bon-Ton Stores was expected, we planned for it and we are currently vetting several wholesale solutions for the 16 stores in our portfolio,” Conforti said.

Tenant driven redevelopment remains one of the company’s “most intriguing value propositions.” Redevelopment efforts include 34 projects currently underway ranging between $1 million and $60 million, with an average estimated project yield of 10 percent, which does not include the derivative impact of the benefit to adjacent space.

Some of these projects include adding breweries and candy stores to Washington Prime malls. Total leasing volume for the core portfolio totaled 1.1 million square feet in the first quarter of 2018. Lifestyle tenancy, which includes food, beverage, entertainment and fitness, accounted for 44 percent of total new leasing activity during the first quarter.

Andrew Feinblatt of Cincinnati-based OnSite Retail Group, said replacing an anchor tenant like Elder-Beerman is difficult. Square footage alone is an issue — as most retailers aren’t looking for massive boxes to lease out right now. Even Target is shifting to more small-format stores.

Still, Feinblatt said he doesn’t think it’s a hopeless situation for local shopping centers. Retailers, especially discount ones like At Home and T.J.Maxx, are still expanding in large spaces. Malls are “being proactive,” trying to bring in more food, drink and entertainment options at their centers, he said.

“It’s about evolution, creativity, it’s an opportunity to get creative to find a solution that appeals to today’s consumer,” he said.

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New downtown building to be named after founding CareSource CEO

Published: Thursday, April 26, 2018 @ 2:24 PM


            A rendering of the CareSource Center City building under construction on the 100 block of East First Street. CONTRIBUTED
A rendering of the CareSource Center City building under construction on the 100 block of East First Street. CONTRIBUTED

The new CareSource building under construction in downtown Dayton will be named after retiring CEO Pamela Morris.

The new six-story building will be named the Pamela Morris Center to honor the legacy of the founding chief executive at the nonprofit insurer.

RELATED: CareSource seeks to hire 100 in Dayton

Morris is retiring in May from her role as leader of the first mandatory Medicaid managed care program in Ohio.

Originally called Dayton Area Health Plan, the insurance company has grown to $8.9 billion in revenue last year and a workforce of 4,000. About 2,800 of those employees are in Dayton, where CareSource is headquartered.

“As founder of CareSource and CEO for nearly 30 years, Pamela Morris has made a lasting difference in the lives of our members, our employees and the Dayton community,” stated Kevin Brown, board chair at CareSource Management Group. “The Pamela Morris Center will inspire Daytonians for decades to come by reminding them of what is possible when you follow your passion.”

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Pamela Morris Center, at the corner of First Street and Jefferson Street, will hold 800 employees when complete in the spring of 2019.

CareSource has nearly 2 million policy holders in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia and Georgia. While it primarily manages Medicaid plans, the insurer also managed Medicare plans and sells health insurance on the Affordable Care Act marketplace.

The new CEO is Erhardt Preitauer, outgoing CEO of Horizon NJ Health, which is the largest New Jersey Medicaid plan.

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DP&L rate increase hearings scheduled: What you need to know

Published: Thursday, April 26, 2018 @ 9:56 AM

MARSHALL GORBY / STAFF
MARSHALL GORBY / STAFF

There will be two local hearings next month on a Dayton Power & Light requested rate increase.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has scheduled public hearings on the rate increase request — at 1 p.m. May 8, at the Dayton Municipal Building, 101 W. Third St., and then at 6 p.m. May 10, also at the municipal building.

The public will be able to testify at these hearings. The rate case affects some 459,000 residential electricity consumers in the Dayton area.

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The Office of the Ohio Consumers Counsel (OCC) has asked the PUCO to have DP&L and other Ohio utilities to offset or reduce their rates in light of the last year’s federal corporate income tax cuts.

In November 2015, DP&L filed a rate case asking the PUCO to allow increases in DP&L’s electric distribution rates to its customers.

DP&L proposed to collect $65.8 million more from consumers for electric distribution service — service that includes poles, wires, meters and other distribution infrastructure and equipment — than it does each year today.

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A typical DP&L residential consumer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity would pay about $4.07 more per month, or about $50 per year, under DP&L’s proposal, according to the OCC.

PUCO staff, in March, proposed an annual increase for DP&L of between $23.2 and $28.1 million.

Earlier this month, the OCC raised its own objections, recommending a rate decrease for consumers. The office recommended that DP&L collect $560,000 less from consumers than is today being collected annually, citing the recent federal corporate income tax cut.

The PUCO has a hearing scheduled in Columbus for May 14, to hear testimony on the federal tax question.

After the hearings, the PUCO will make a decision on the rates.

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